The construction work at the second Niger Bridge would soon be completed as the work already done hits 44.6 per cent.
The Federal controller of works in Anambra, Mr Innocent Alumonah, confirmed the progress of work on the bridge that is linking Asaba in Delta and Onitsha in Anambra.
He said that construction firm, Julius Berger, has also accomplished about 85 piles of 914 millimeter in diameter in different axis, Leadership“>Leadership reported.
“The contract was split into phases. Phases 1 to phase 3 have been successfully accomplished and we are now on early works in phase 4. Part of this early works phase 4 forms part of the main contract.
“So far, the 1.2 kilometer sand filling of the road at the Asaba end has reached the height of 2.2 meters out of the expected five meters.
“At the Onitsha end, we have done a lot of sand filling of embankments to a reasonable stage. We have done a lot of culverts as well.
“In all, we have achieved around 44.6 per cent of phase of early work stage 4,” Alumonah said.
He said the contract for the early work stage four was awarded in October 2016 while work commenced in November 2017.
According to him, an advance payment of N2.166 billion was made to the contractor out of the contract sum of N14.466 billion for the early work phase four.
He said the early work stage four project had a life span of nine months starting from November 2017 to July 2018, noting that there would not be any interruption between stage four and the main contract.
He said the second Niger Bridge was no longer a political issue as President Muhammadu Buhari had demonstrated commitment to realizing the completion of the project.
“The bridge is a link road to all parts of the country not just the South East. It is not a bridge only for the southern part of the country. It is for all Nigerians,” he said.
The controller noted that the continuous maintenance of the existing Niger bridge built in 1965 was a demonstration of the federal government’s commitment.
He said the stress on the existing bridge compelled the federal government to build a second Niger bridge.
He said the issue of compensation of the affected people had been handled by the federal government to a reasonable level and had paved way for work at kilometers 23 to 31. Leadership
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported that some residents of Anambra have commended President Buhari for ensuring the commencement of work at the second Niger Bridge.
They praised Buhari’s fulfilment of his promise to construct the bridge.
The second Niger Bridge, awarded to Julius Berger Nig. Ltd, was envisaged to reduce the load and pressure on the existing Niger Bridge.
A Correspondent of NAN, who visited the project site to ascertain the level of work done, reports that some workers were seen operating a gigantic equipment used for piling.
In his reaction, Prof. Dennis Aribodo of the Department of Public Health Parasitology, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, described the bridge as a “necessary link to promote the economy of the country.”
“The bridge invariably serves as an alternative if anything happens to old Niger Bridge. It is an important economic project of huge benefit to the country,” he said.
Aribodo stressed the need for proper supervision of the project to ensure that work was carried out to specification.
Also, Mrs Anthonia Udem, a food vendor close to the project site, who expressed happiness over the project; however, decried the slow pace of work by the construction company.
Udem described the attitude of the construction firm as “419” (fraud).
“I am happy about the work, just that these people want to play us 419 again. I say so because this work is supposed to be ready by now but they will work today and tomorrow they won’t work.
“I want government to execute the project fast so that the bridge will be useful to us and everybody will be happy,” Udem said.
On his part, Mr Chukwuemeka Okonkwo, a sand excavator near the project site, also decried the slow pace of work at the Bridge.
Okonkwo said based on the importance of this project, the work should be carried out both day and night to ensure early completion.